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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project


Biological Sciences


Microbial ecology, Genome evolution, Epigenetics, Phylogeography, Evolutionary genetics


Microbes rule the world, yet we cannot always see their diverse and abundant presence. Microbial organisms can be found in different environments on Earth, from freshwater to soils and marine habitats. For such abundant organisms, there are many aspects, such as their biodiversity and biogeography, that are not well understood. Particularly, testate (shelled) amoebae are among the microbial organisms that are very diverse, but we do not fully understand the magnitude or distribution of their biodiversity. Testate amoebae are also among the many microbial lineages that have strange and poorly-understood genome features. The testate amoebae discussed within this study are found on Sphagnum moss within a freshwater fen. The first chapter examines the biodiversity of testate amoebae and their distribution throughout a fen in Massachusetts that is mistakenly named Hawley Bog. The second chapter of this thesis explores the evidence of RNA editing in the mitochondrial genome of testate amoebae taken from the same fen.




85 pages : color illustrations. Honors project, Smith College, 2016. Includes bibliographical references.